OFFICIAL NAME: Department of Guadeloupe
CAPITAL: Basse-Terre
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Overseas Department of France
AREA: 1,780 Sq Km (687 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 450,800


Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Guadeloupe is a group of islands located in the central Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The territory consists of seven islands, while the two main islands of Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre are separated by a narrow saltwater stream, called Riviere Salee. Basse-Terre, the western island, is of volcanic origin, mountainous and also has an active volcano called Grande Soufriere. The eastern island of Grande-Terre is lower and flatter than Basse-Terre and is of coral-limestone formation. Major Cities (pop. est.); Les Abymes 62,600, St. Martin 28,500, Pointe-a-Pitre 26,000, Le Grosier 20,700, Basse-Terre 14,000 (1990). Land Use; forested 39%, pastures 13%, agricultural-cultivated 18%, other 30% (1993).


CLIMATE: Guadeloupe has a tropical climate with relative humidity from 77% in March and April to 85% in October. There is a wet season from July to November while November to April is generally the coolest and driest period. Average annual temperature ranges in Pointe-a-Pitre are from 23 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 30 degrees Celsius (87 degrees Fahrenheit) in August.


PEOPLE: Around 77% of the population are Creoles or Mulattoes, who are of mixed White and Black African descent while 2% of the population are White, 10% are Black Africans and 10% are French-East Asian Mestizos. The remainder are Chinese and Lebanese.


DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 222 persons per sq km (575 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 48.4% urban, 51.6% rural (1990). Sex Distribution; 48.7% male, 51.3% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth; 70.0 years male, 77.0 years female (1989). Age Breakdown; 27% under 15, 30% 15 to 29, 18% 30 to 44, 13% 45 to 59, 8% 60 to 74, 4% 75 and over (1990). Birth Rate; 19.4 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 6.0 per 1,000 (1990). Increase Rate; 13.4 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 9.2 per 1,000 live births (1989).


RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 92% of the population Roman Catholic.


LANGUAGES: The official language is French, although a Creole Patois is widely spoken.


EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling 10.7%, primary 54.6%, secondary 29.5%, higher 5.2% (1982). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 225,400 or 90.1% (1982).


MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1991: In 1946 France granted Guadeloupe departmental status. In 1974 the islands became a region of France and in 1982 were granted greater autonomy due to France's decentralization legislation. A trend for greater autonomy continued until the General Council elections in 1988 and in February the Communist Party of Guadeloupe announced that it would be pursuing independence for Guadeloupe rather than greater autonomy. In July 1985 after the detention of a member of one of the small pro independence parties, a general strike and rioting broke out. In 1991 riot police from Guadeloupe were sent to the French island of La Desirade after the Mayor was killed in an ambush in October.


CURRENCY: The official currency is the French Franc (F) divided into 100 Centimes.


ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $1,160,000,000 (1990). Public Debt; USD $58,000,000 (1990). Imports; F 8,539,962,000 (1994). Exports; F 847,130,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $370,000,000 (1993). Balance of Trade; F -7,693,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 181,000 or 44.0% of total population (1992). Unemployed; 26.1% (1993).


MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are France, Italy and Martinique.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Aubergines, Bananas, Pineapples, Sugar Cane, Sweet Potatoes, Tropical Fruits and Vegetables.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Construction, Light Industry, Sugar Refining, Tourism.

MAIN EXPORTS: Bananas, Rum, Sugar.


TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; length 2,093 km (1,301 mi) (1988). Vehicles; cars 95,962 (1985), trucks and buses 28,134 (1985). Merchant Marine; vessels 13 (1990), deadweight tonnage N/A. Air Transport; N/A.


COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 1 with a circulation of 25,000 (1993). Radio; receivers 100,000 (1993). Television; receivers 150,000 (1993). Telephones; units 148,700 (1993).


MILITARY: 535 (1994) total active French duty personnel.


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